Cypriot Parliament President Yiannakis L. Omirou visited the Knesset on Wednesday. He was greeted with an honor guard, and then laid a wreath at the foot of the memorial for IDF soldiers and signed the Knesset guestbook.
During a joint press conference with Edelstein, held in Chagall State Hall, the senior Cypriot official expressed his gratitude for being invited to Israel and for having the opportunity to conduct ”fruitful and constructive meetings, and exchanges of views, in an effort to strengthen even more the very good relations between our parliaments and states.”
Photo: Itzik Harari)
Omirou expressed his ”deep sympathy” for the victims of the terror attacks which took place in Israel yesterday and today. ”I have to strongly condemn these attacks, which undermine the efforts for peace, stability and cooperation in the Mideast and the wider region,” he stated.
”I am certain that during my visit to Israel I will have fruitful meetings and exchanges of ideas with the President, Prime Minister, [Knesset] Speaker and ministers – in order to strengthen even more our relations, which are on a very good level in many fields,” he told reporters, while mentioning last week`s trilateral meeting in Nicosia between the foreign affairs committees of Israel, Cyprus Greece. He also said that the joint military exercise between the armed forces of Cyprus and Israel, which begins today, ”proves that the relations between our countries are growing stronger each day.”
Speaker Edelstein welcomed Omirou to Jerusalem and the Knesset, ”the beating heart of Israeli democracy,” and said ”You are one of Israel`s closest friends. Your visit here today is part of a series of important measures that reflect the strengthening of the relations between our countries.” These measures, he said, include reciprocal visits by the heads of state of Israel and Cyprus, as well as the establishment of a trilateral strategic alliance between Cyprus, Greece and Israel.
”I am sure the cooperation between our countries will grow stronger and flourish,” Edelstein told Omirou. ”I am absolutely certain that our parliaments will play an important part in developing the ties in the areas of water resources, environment, cultural exchanges, and other important projects our countries share.”
Following the press conference, Edelstein and Omirou held a work meeting in the Knesset Speaker`s bureau with the participation of MK Manuel Trajtenberg (Zionist Camp), chairman of the Israel-Cyprus Parliamentary Friendship Group. The President of the Cypriot Parliament also met with opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp).
Later, Omirou and members of his delegation observed a plenary sitting from the VIP gallery. During the session, Speaker Edelstein welcomed the delegation, and said Israel would support Cyprus in the aftermath of economic crisis it experienced.
On Tuesday Knesset Speaker Edelstein hosted Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis and members of his delegation, including the Romanian education and foreign ministers.
Following a welcome ceremony at the Knesset Plaza, President Iohannis laid a wreath at the foot of the memorial for fallen IDF soldiers and then signed the Knesset guestbook in Chagall State Hall. Speaker Edelstein told him, ”You are a true friend of Israel. Throughout history, the two countries maintained good relations, and Romania was the only country in the Communist bloc that never severed ties with us.”
Work meeting between Iohannis and Edelstein (Photo: Itzik Harari)
”Romania has been consistent in its support of Israel and in understanding its security needs, and it is one of the pioneers in the fight against anti-Semitism,” the Knesset Speaker added, while calling to boost cooperation between Israel and Romania – particularly between the parliaments – with a focus on economics, culture, tourism, education, environment, water and advancing women`s rights.
President Iohannis said Romania would ”continue its all out war against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial and will continue working to put war criminals on trial. The memory of the Holocaust will continue to be part of our [curriculum],” the Romanian leader stated.
President Iohannis further said that his country was ”very concerned about the situation in the Middle East,” adding that ”the peace process is very important to us, and it has many implications for European countries.” The Romanian leader thanked his hosts for the medical assistance Israel provided to the victims of the fire at the ”Colectiv” nightclub in Bucharest about a year and a half ago. ”Due to the Israeli assistance, the wounded have been rehabilitated,” he noted.
MK Yoseph Yonah, chairman of the Israel-Romania Parliamentary Friendship Group, also took part in the meeting between Knesset Speaker Edelstein and President Iohannis.